LINN COUNTY, Ore. — The United States Geological Survey (USGS) reported a magnitude 4.4 earthquake in Linn County Friday morning. It happened around 5:52 a.m. about 9.3 miles from Lacomb, Oregon, which is southeast of Salem.
A preliminary report from USGS initially said the earthquake had a magnitude of 4.2. There were no immediate reports of major damage or serious injuries, according to dispatchers with the Linn County Sheriff's Office.
“A 4.4 only occurs maybe every 5 to 10 years. I mean, it is not a real common one," said Dr. Scott Burns, a professor of geology at Portland State University.
Burns says Friday's 4.4 earthquake was unusually big for western Oregon. But he doesn't believe it's a precursor for the 9.0 magnitude earthquake known as "the big one" that has a 37% chance of hitting the Pacific Northwest sometime in the next 50 years.
“We start to think about these gigantic things like magnitude 9.0 earthquakes, sort of like an asteroid coming from outer space," said Chris Goldfinger, a professor of marine geology at Oregon State University. "(That) New Yorker article is a little over the top. It sounds like everything west of I-5 is going to be wiped off the face of the earth, but that's not the case."
Goldfinger has been studying conditions for "the big one" for over 30 years. He said those who would be most impacted by it will be along the coast, but those in the valley will have a little less to worry about.
"When the big one hits, people most affected will be on the coast," said Goldfinger. "Because not only are they going to have the shaking or the landslides and the buildings going back and forth, they also have the chance for a tsunami."
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Many people around the Willamette Valley notified KGW and wrote on social media saying they felt the earthquake. Some people as far south as Oakridge, and others as far north as Camas, Washington, said they felt the shaking.
"We felt it near downtown Camas. It woke us up, and lasted at least 30 seconds," wrote Sandi Alex on the KGW Facebook page.
"I’m in Lebanon, it woke the whole house, pictures knocked off the walls," wrote Tanya Maria in a post on Twitter.
"My daughter, who lives in Sweet Home, felt it," wrote Sani O'Regan on Twitter.
"Was wondering why the house was shaking and did not hear any helicopters going by, so figured it had to be an earthquake," Barry Lieberman, who lives in Vancouver near Salmon Creek, wrote on Facebook.
The Pacific Northwest Seismic Network (PNSN) asks anyone who felt the shaking to fill out a report online. The PNSN monitors earthquakes and volcanoes in Washington and Oregon.
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